Blue Earth Lake
Blue Earth Lake, nestled in a valley to the west of Highway One between Spences Bridge and Ashcroft, offers a small oasis of wetland in the midst of the semi-arid conditions of the surrounding area. It forms the centerpiece of Blue Earth Lake Provincial Park, a 705 hectare park established on April 30, 1996.
The area around Blue Earth Lake contains archaeological sites linked with the Nlak’apamux (Thompson) First Nations people, and is part of their traditional area. An Nlak’apamux legend tells of how there were no lakes or streams, and consequently no fish, in the area until a great flood covered the land. When the water receded, it left behind lakes in the hollows of the mountains, and fish in the lakes, which is why we have them today.
The many small lakes of the park contain several varieties of fish, including bullhead, bull trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout. In early summer spawning trout can be seen in the shallow channels which link the various lakes. Good fishing can be had by both fly-fishing and trolling, either from the shore or by boat. While the lakes are small, recreational canoeing and kayaking are popular on their crystal-clear waters. A small, somewhat rough boat launch area is available, although it is only suitable for small boats (hand launching only).
The valley, ringed by the Pavilion Mountains, is overlooked by small areas of old-growth Douglas fir and mature aspen trees. The area is of geological interest, as it is situated at the junction of the Marble Canyon limestone formations to the north, and the volcanic rock of the Spences Bridge area to the south. The lakes, wetlands, and riparian areas in the valley provide shelter and sustenance for the songbirds and waterfowl which inhabit the region. There are no developed hiking trails through the park, but paths follow the shorelines of the lakes. Hiking and mountain biking are allowed on the logging roads which zig-zag through the area. Although there are no defined camping sites, camping is allowed (space permitting; the area can accommodate up to six camping parties at a time).
The beauty and serenity of Blue Earth Lake have attracted many visitors over the years. Perhaps the most famous was British poet laureate Ted Hughes (1930–1998), considered one of the greatest poets of his generation. An avid fisherman, Hughes visited Blue Earth with Ehor Boyanowsky, a criminologist and author who had struck up a friendship with Hughes due to a shared passion for conservation and the environment. While fishing on Blue Earth Lake, Hughes wondered aloud if “this was the place he dreamed about with his brother when they were boys: a land of cowboys and Indians and giant salmon.”
Access is only from the east, via Venables Valley Road from Highway 1 north of Spences Bridge. The road has several very tight corners, and access with long vehicles—or a vehicle with a trailer—is difficult.